Franklin Blake walking through the High Street of Dorking as he seeks out Sergeant Cuff, now retired from the Metropolitan Police. — uncaptioned vignette for the "The Story. Second Period, Third Narrative" Chapter 8 — thirty-first illustration in the Doubleday (New York) 1946 edition of The Moonstone, p. 335. 7.5 x 10.6 cm. [Determined to prove his own innocence despite Rachel's having seen him steal the Moonstone, Franklin Blake now determines to seek out Sergeant Cuff, now retired and pursuing his gardening of roses in the village of Dorking, now a virtual suburb of Greater London but a mere village in the mid-nineteenth century.] Scanned image and text by Philip V. Allingham. [You may use this image without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the person who scanned the image and (2) link your document to this URL.]

Passage Illustrated

Mr. Bruff smiled, and took up his hat.

"Tell Sergeant Cuff," he rejoined, "that I say the discovery of the truth depends on the discovery of the person who pawned the Diamond. And let me hear what the Sergeant's experience says to that."

So we parted.

Early the next morning, I set forth for the little town of Dorking — the place of Sergeant Cuff's retirement, as indicated to me by Betteredge.

Inquiring at the hotel, I received the necessary directions for finding the Sergeant's cottage. It was approached by a quiet bye-road, a little way out of the town, and it stood snugly in the middle of its own plot of garden ground, protected by a good brick wall at the back and the sides, and by a high quickset hedge in front. The gate, ornamented at the upper part by smartly-painted trellis-work, was locked. After ringing at the bell, I peered through the trellis-work, and saw the great Cuff's favourite flower everywhere; blooming in his garden, clustering over his door, looking in at his windows. Far from the crimes and the mysteries of the great city, the illustrious thief-taker was placidly living out the last Sybarite years of his life, smothered in roses! —‚Äč "Second Period. Third Narrative Contributed by Franklin Blake" in "The Discovery of the Truth (1848-1849)," Chapter 8, p. 335.


The novelist now tests the limits of cynical experience as the hardened London Metropolitan Police detective, retired, had believed that Rachel Verinder herself was the thief. However, before exiting the earlier part of the narrative, he had written a name on a slip of paper and given it to Betteredge. When Franklin Blake and Sergeant Cuff discover Godfrey Ablewhite's corpse in an East End public house, the name is revealed: Cuff had correctly deduced that Ablewhite, who left the Yorkshire estate ahead of his investigation, was the culprit. The importance of this note is underscored in the original Harper's Weekly illustrations by the 6 June illustration, "He took a slip of paper from his pocket, and handed it to Betteredge" (p. 357).

Armed with a new piece of evidence that he is sure Sergeant Cuff, even though retired to the village of Dorking, would wish to see, Franklin Blake now takes the train from Yorkshire to his London lodgings, where Mathew Bruff visits him to sum up the case thus far, including the pawning of the Moonstone with Mr. Luker. Since his role in the theft of the diamond is still an impediment to his relationship with Rachel Verinder, Franklin Blake now determines to consult the detective in his rural cottage. The text does not, in fact, describe Blake's arrival in the town or his walking up the high street to the quiet by-road on which Cuff's cottage is located, so the reader naturally wonders why the illustrator did not offer an image of the cottage instead. Perhaps Sharp's intention was simply to let the text do the work, and to use the picture of fashionably dressed Blake striding up the street to establish that he has left London.

Related Materials


Collins, Wilkie. The Moonstone: A Romance. with sixty-six illustrations. Harper's Weekly: A Journal of Civilization. Vol. 12 (1868), 4 January through 8 August, pp. 5-503.

Collins, Wilkie. The Moonstone: A Romance. All the Year Round. 1 January-8 August 1868.

_________. The Moonstone: A Novel. With many illustrations. First edition. New York: Harper and Brothers, [July] 1868.

_________. The Moonstone: A Novel. With 19 illustrations. Second edition. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1874.

_________. The Moonstone: A Romance. Illustrated by George Du Maurier and F. A. Fraser. London: Chatto and Windus, 1890.

_________. The Moonstone. With 19 illustrations. The Works of Wilkie Collins. New York: Peter Fenelon Collier, 1900. Volumes 6 and 7.

_________. The Moonstone: A Romance. With four illustrations by John Sloan. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1908.

_________. The Moonstone: A Romance. Illustrated by A. S. Pearse. London & Glasgow: Collins, 1910, rpt. 1930.

_________. The Moonstone. Illustrated by William Sharp. New York: Doubleday, 1946.

_________. The Moonstone: A Romance. With nine illustrations by Edwin La Dell. London: Folio Society, 1951.

Karl, Frederick R. "Introduction." Wilkie Collins's The Moonstone. Scarborough, Ontario: Signet, 1984. Pp. 1-21.

Leighton, Mary Elizabeth, and Lisa Surridge. "The Transatlantic Moonstone: A Study of the Illustrated Serial in Harper's Weekly." Victorian Periodicals Review Volume 42, Number 3 (Fall 2009): pp. 207-243. Accessed 1 July 2016.

Nayder, Lillian. Unequal Partners: Charles Dickens, Wilkie Collins, & Victorian Authorship. London and Ithaca, NY: Cornll U. P., 2001.

Peters, Catherine. The King of the Inventors: A Life of Wilkie Collins. London: Minerva, 1991.

Reed, John R. "English Imperialism and the Unacknowledged crime of The Moonstone." Clio 2, 3 (June, 1973): 281-290.

Richardson, Betty. "Prisons and Prison Reform." Victorian Britain: An Encyclopedia, ed. Sally Mitchell. London and New York: Garland, 1988. Pp. 638-640.

Stewart, J. I. M. "Introduction." Wilkie Collins's The Moonstone. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1966, rpt. 1973. Pp. 7-24.

Stewart, J. I. M. "A Note on Sources." Wilkie Collins's The Moonstone. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1966, rpt. 1973. Pp. 527-8.

Vann, J. Don. "The Moonstone in All the Year Round, 4 January-8 1868." Victorian Novels in Serial. New York: Modern Language Association, 1985. Pp. 48-50.

Winter, William. "Wilkie Collins." Old Friends: Being Literary Recollections of Other Days. New York: Moffat, Yard, & Co., 1909. Pp. 203-219.

Last updated 25 October 2016